She wanted to live in the sun, among smiles and laughter. She was like a kitten in her desire to be petted, made much of, and admired. Almost anybody who liked her could win a place in her affection.
Johnnie’s case was not so hopeless as he imagined it.
THE CAUTIOUS GUY SLIPS UP
Over their good-night smoke Clay gave a warning. “Keep yore eyes open, Johnnie. I was trailed to the house to-day by one of the fellows with Durand the night I called on him. It spells trouble. I reckon the ’Paches are going to leave the reservation again.”
“Do you allow that skunk is aimin’ to bushwhack you?”
“He’s got some such notion. It’s a cinch he ain’t through with me yet.”
“Say, Clay, ain’t you gettin’ homesick for the whinin’ of a rawhide? Wha’s the matter with us hittin’ the dust for good old Tucson? I’d sure like to chase cowtails again.”
“You can go, Johnnie. I’m not ready yet—quite. And when I go it won’t be because of any rattlesnake in the grass.”
“Whadyou mean I can go?” demanded his friend indignantly. “I don’t aim to go and leave you here alone.”
“Perhaps I’ll be along, too, after a little. I’m about fed up on New York.”
“Well, I’ll stick around till you come. If this Jerry Durand’s trying to get you I’ll be right there followin’ yore dust, old scout.”
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Mebbe the fellow means to strike at me through you or Kitty. I’ve a mind to put you both on a train for the B-in-a-Box Ranch.”
“You can put the li’l’ girl on a train. You can’t put me on none less’n you go too,” answered his shadow stoutly.
“Then see you don’t get drawn into any quarrels while you and Kitty are away from the house. Stick to the lighted streets. I think I’ll speak to her about not lettin’ any strange man talk to her.”
“She wouldn’t talk to no strange man. She ain’t that kind,” snorted Johnnie.
“Keep yore shirt on,” advised Clay, smiling. “What I mean is that she mustn’t let herself believe the first story some one pulls on her. I think she had better not go out unless one of us is with her.”
“I thought that might suit you. Well, stick to main-traveled roads and don’t take any chances. If you get into trouble, yell bloody murder poco pronto.”
“And don’t you take any, old-timer. That goes double. I’m the cautious guy in this outfit, not you.”
Within twenty-four hours Clay heard some one pounding wildly on the outer door of the apartment and the voice of the cautious guy imploring haste.
“Lemme in, Clay. Hurry! Hurry!” he shouted.
Lindsay was at the door in four strides, but he did not need to see the stricken woe of his friend’s face to guess what had occurred. For Johnnie and Kitty had started together to see a picture play two hours earlier.